Dr Isabelle Engeli in the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies (PoLIS) has taken over the editorship of the flagship political journal Political Studies Review (PSR).

Along with former Bath academic Professor David Cutts, now based at the University of Birmingham, as Editor-in-Chief Dr Engeli will help lead an international team from across a wide spectrum of political science disciplines to ensure PSR is well-placed to achieve its ambitious aims and future goals.

The new PSR is an established political science journal with a strong emphasis on publishing innovative, rigorous and original research of significance to the discipline.

Rigorous high-quality research

It provides a unique intellectual space for rigorous high-quality peer reviewed original research across political science and the study of politics in related fields. It aims to stimulate a wide-ranging debate and cutting-edge discussion of current disputes and issues in the discipline both within the UK and internationally.

The journal seeks to bridge the intellectual boundary of why political science matters through enhancing understanding and dialogue both within the political science profession, across disciplinary subfields and outside the scholarly community.

Coup for the Department

Dr Isabelle Engeli said: “We are thrilled to work with our new international team of Editors from across a wide spectrum of disciplinary sub-fields who provide PSR with a diversity of perspectives and experiences. Together, we are an inclusive team that will enhance the representation of all approaches to high quality research and dialogue in political science.”

Professor David Cutts added: “With a lead team drawn from the universities of Bath and Birmingham, Political Studies Review is well-placed to offer an intellectual space for rigorous and high-quality research that enhances dialogue between members of the political science profession across all of its subfields as well as with the wider public.”

Head of Department, Dr Nick Startin added: “Political Studies Review is one of the leading academic journals for political science. To be editing this in house gives us a real opportunity to shape its future success and is a real coup for the Department.”

Learning from Trump

One of the new studies published in this edition of PSR, ‘The Readability and Simplicity of Donald Trump’s language’, focuses on the language and communications used in the 2016 US Presidential campaign.

Through analysis of 10 interviews and debates during the campaign, it suggests that President Trump’s language was significantly simpler and consisted of fewer complex words than other candidates. Whereas Trump's language could be fully understood by 9-10 year olds (fourth-graders), by contrast, Hilary Clinton's speeches - whose communications were the most complex of all candidates - were pitched at 14-15 year olds (ninth-graders).

It suggests Trump's 'rhetorical strategy' to 'keep it simple' made his speeches more digestible and easier to understand for audiences.

Lead author Dr Orly Kayam of Department of Education at Wingate Academic College in Israel explained: “In the 2016 Presidential campaign Trump not only showed that simplifying a message can appeal to a wider base of individuals, but that simplicity is an effective rhetorical tool.

“That his speech is more digestible to audiences is one element to his success; the other is of course that this rhetoric supported a growing sense of anti-intellectualism, anti-establishment and anti-political discourse that he did so well at marshalling among his supporters.

“The big lesson people should take from Trump’s victory is not to speak like a politician or scholar. The masses will always prefer a level of speech that sounds natural, as they speak with their friends when they discuss politics or daily matters.”

The conclusions to the study suggest that both Trump and Clinton were good communicators in conveying a strong sense of fear but less effective when it came to reaching out beyond their traditional bases. “Clinton made everyone afraid of Trump; Trump made everyone afraid of things that were going to happen if he was not elected. But whereas both were effective when it came to negative emotions, neither managed to evoke a compelling vision for the future” added Dr Kayam.

The PSR paper has already attracted significant media interest.